As the Information Age evolves, so is UCLA's Department of Library and Information Science, which is taking on a new, more progressive and inclusive name: the Department of Information Studies.
"The new name more accurately reflects the ever-broadening scope of the work we're doing here," said department chair MichŽle Cloonan. "Librarianship in all its forms remains a key component of our vision for the future. At the same time, our research and teaching are expanding into the brave new world being created by electronic information and computer networks."
As a result of new research directions, a multitude of professional avenues are opening to people skilled in preserving, organizing, retrieving and storing information in all its forms. And UCLA's graduate-degree program is meeting the demand, Cloonan said.
"Already we are incorporating archives- and records-management courses in our curricula," Cloonan noted. "We're also moving into digital-asset management and other areas of cultural heritage management."
Not only is the pool of students evolving, but libraries themselves are being transformed. In the past, the boundaries were clear: Libraries dealt in books; archives in paper; museums in artifacts.
"When more and more content is in digital form," said Professor Christine Borgman, lead architect of the name change, "those boundaries begin to blur. We need to be able to cut across those boundaries and think about information-related issues that involve institutions, individuals, groups and organizations."
The department's library program continues squarely on course, with its master's in library and information science degree winning American Library Association reaccreditation through the year 2004.
While libraries remain the primary employers of the department's graduates, UCLA grads are also being sought in the private and public sectors to work in digital archives, museums, technology and software development, among others.
"Filling these positions with people who embody the values, ethics and practices that come with earning master's and Ph.D. degrees in our program can only serve to strengthen our profession and the information environment as a whole," Cloonan said.